CBD oil is becoming a common household product; no longer is the idea of taking CBD something alien or illegal, but it is instead being quite frequently recommended by doctors for a myriad of conditions.
However, when you first get that helpful prescription for CBD, you’ll likely have a choice of how to consume it.
Should you use CBD oil or pills? Does it actually matter? It’s all the same, right? It’s all CBD this year.
Are CBD pills better than CBD oil at all?
What is the CBD You’ve Probably Heard About?
CBD, formally known as cannabidiol, is one of the major cannabinoids within cannabis. When ingested, it interacts with a health system within the body called the endocannabinoid system. Within the ECS, there are two major receptors, CB1 and CB2.
These receptors are triggered by any form of cannabinoid, such as THC or CBD, and produce a variety of different effects based on their primary locations within the human body. For example, the CB1 receptor is located primarily within the brain and nervous system, allowing it to help modulate the feeling of pain, as well as several important neurochemicals that are responsible for your mood.
On the other hand, the CB2 receptor is spread more liberally throughout the body, allowing it to affect a whole host of different functions. One of the major responsibilities it has is control of the inflammation response, as well as healthy cellular regeneration.
CBD interacts with these receptors in a special way when compared to other cannabinoids; instead of over-stimulating them through direct attachment, as is the case with THC, it instead stimulates the receptors gently. This allows the receptors to be activated more calmly, providing your body with health benefits at a far better rate than with other cannabinoids. It is for this reason that CBD is frequently recommended over other cannabinoids; additionally, it isn’t exactly ideal to be constantly high all the time from THC when you just want some helpful medicinal benefits. When you ingest CBD, it enters into your body and is absorbed into your bloodstream.
However, this is the ideal situation; there are some instances wherein your body can have difficulties absorbing the drug fully. This is the main thing to consider when talking about the differences between CBD pills and CBD oil. So, what are these differences?
CBD Pills & CBD Oils – What’s the Difference?
The primary difference between CBD pills and CBD oils is the method in which the CBD is absorbed.
When consuming a drug, you need a convenient way to contain the drug before it’s absorbed into your bloodstream.
In the case of CBD oil, the CBD is kept in inert oil, typically coconut or hemp oil. In this case, you put droplets of CBD either into your food or directly underneath your tongue. When you consume CBD oil, the oil is either digested into your stomach through your food or drink, or it is assimilated into your bloodstream when placed under your tongue.
In contrast, CBD pills are designed to only be digested through the stomach. When your stomach breaks down the sugar pill (or gel capsule, CBD pills can be either) to access the CBD within, it is then processed through the digestive system. The eventual route for the CBD is through your intestinal tract, where it is pushed through the intestinal lining and then taken to the liver. This is where the problem lies, however. Within the liver, there exists an enzyme called Cytochrome P-450, normally called CYP450. This enzyme is responsible for the breakdown of drugs in your system, and is the main reason we are able to feel any kind of effect from drugs at all. The problem is that CYP450’s ability to break down cannabinoids is… not exactly great.
One study by Ohlsson et al. for the journal of Biomedical Environmental Science found that the bioavailability of CBD within the liver is only 6%. This is obviously a serious problem, as it means that only 6% of the CBD you ingest is actually usable by your body. This is usually factored into the dosage of your CBD prescription, but it details a particularly significant different problem between CBD pills or CBD oils. The reason for this is due to an interesting quality of the human body’s reaction to drugs called Intestinal Lymphatic Drug Delivery.
Intestinal Lymphatic Drug Delivery & What it Means for CBD Efficacy
When you ingest CBD oil – which is typically coconut oil or other types of oil with large amounts of saturated fat – a good quantity of it will always be digested by the stomach, even if you plan on putting it underneath your tongue.
When it is digested, the coconut oil moves through the intestinal lining, first through the small intestine and then through the large intestine. Once there, it does something very interesting – it can actually get caught in the intestines.
Though this initially sounds like a very bad thing, what actually happens is that the blood flow that runs alongside the intestinal wall helps remove the CBD and bring it directly to the bloodstream.
This allows it to more easily be assimilated into the bloodstream, thus getting the CBD into the endocannabinoid system more quickly, as well as with increased efficacy.
This was primarily discovered in a study conducted Hyeji Ahn and Ji-Ho Park for the journal of Biomaterials Research, and the concept of Intestinal Lymphatic Drug Delivery is now being tested for use with a variety of other drugs, not just CBD.
So, why is this significant in the decision between CBD pills or oils?
Well, this interesting trait only applies to CBD intake using coconut oil, meaning CBD pills don’t have the same ability. So, do CBD pills have any benefits over CBD oil?
The Advantages of CBD Pills
The primary benefits of CBD pills are less linked with CBD efficacy and more related to a matter of convenience.
When you take a CBD pill, you’re able to quickly and easily ingest the pill no matter where you are.
This ease of use, as well as the fact that it’s very easy to take discreetly, means CBD pills are the best option for those looking to consume their CBD without unwanted attention, as well as if you need to take it while on the go. CBD pills can be somewhat easier to digest, as well.
Due to the fact that CBD pills are usually sugar based, they are very easy to digest within the stomach, letting the digestion system more easily access the CBD. So, while the efficacy of the CBD is rather reduced due to its reliance on both the digestive system’s efficiency, and the problem with the liver’s ability to properly metabolize CBD, CBD pills are more easy to push through the digestive system.
This basically means that CBD oils are perhaps more efficient in terms of accessing the CBD, but CBD pills will be processed by the body faster.
So, Which is Better: CBD Pills or CBD Oil?
The choice between CBD pills and CBD oil ultimately comes down to personal preference.
Due to the ease of use of ingesting CBD pills, they might be preferred by those who prioritize discretion and simplicity. Additionally, CBD pills have the added benefit of being digested very efficiently by the body, despite the associated loss of eventual efficiency in allowing the body access to the broken down CBD.
On the other hand, CBD oil might be preferred by those looking to take CBD oil with the most effectiveness as possible. Thanks to the way in which CBD oil is processed in the intestinal system, the
CBD is more easily accessed by the bloodstream and, thus, more easily accessed by the ECS. One further point is that some people simply enjoy the taste of CBD oil. Due to the fact that CBD oil is simply the CBD extract suspended in, usually, pretty tasteless oil, the distinctive taste of CBD is still very prevalent.
So, if you like the taste of the CBD oil – for whatever reason, as it’s usually pretty unpleasant – then you might prefer CBD oil.
Ultimately, it’s up to you; if you want ease of use along with an entirely tasteless experience, CBD pills are your best bet. If you enjoy the ability to put it in food, under your tongue, or even just enjoy the taste of CBD oil, all while having the ability to get as much CBD out of your CBD oil, then you can safely keep getting CBD oil. The differences are small, but they all still contain CBD, so the ultimate choice is personal.
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